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NBA: Cavs target George to challenge Warriors dominance

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

FILE PHOTO: Apr 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) celebrates after scoring against the Toronto Raptors during the second half in game six of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

Fresh off their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly trying to bring Paul George over from the Indiana Pacers to add firepower and defense to the Eastern Conference champs.

George, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, is a highly sought after target in the NBA this offseason and combining him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving could produce a viable challenger to the dominant Warriors next season.

ESPN reported Monday on a possible three-way deal that would see the Cavs send forward Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, the Nuggets send several young players to the Pacers, and George forming a new Big Three in Cleveland with James and Irving.

“This blockbuster trade from the Cavaliers standpoint is all determined by what the Golden State Warriors did in the NBA Finals,” ESPN pundit Chris Haynes said on Monday.

Earlier this month the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in five games to claim their second championship over Cleveland in three years.

“The roster as structured right now, (the Cavs) don’t feel like they have the talent and depth to contend with the Warriors,” he added.

The sticking point in the deal is that the Nuggets are not yet willing to part with either of their two best players – 20-year-old guard Jamal Murray and Serbian big man Nikola Jokić – but an agreement could still be reached, Haynes said.

A team that would suffer if George went to Cleveland is the Los Angeles Lakers, who were hoping to nab George to serve as a leader in their locker room, which is budding with young talent.

George, who can become a free agent after next season, had previously expressed interest in returning to LA, where he is originally from, but may not be quick to change teams again if the Cavs move takes place and proves successful.

“If the Cleveland Cavaliers win a title and dethrone the Warriors, Paul George really has to consider his initial basis of trying to get to LA,” Haynes said.

“This is going to be a nightmare for the Lakers and could change the entire look of free agency next season.”

Whether Cleveland is successful in bringing in George or not, the team will also pursue other big names around the Association this offseason including sharp-shooting forward Carmelo Anthony, who may be freed from his New York Knicks deal.

“If things work out in the Cavaliers favor, they will have the firepower necessary to feel like they can contend with the Golden State Warriors,” Haynes said. — By Rory Carroll

(Editing by Larry Fine)

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Jordan backs James after president questions player’s intelligence

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: NBA Legend Michael Jordan and NBA player Lebron James (REUTERS)

(Reuters) – NBA legend Michael Jordan and U.S. athletes rallied to LeBron James’ defense on Saturday after U.S. President Donald Trump questioned the star player’s intelligence in a tweet.

“I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” Jordan, now owner of the National Basketball Association’s Charlotte Hornets, told NBC News through a spokesperson.

The comment by Jordan and others came after Trump had tweeted:

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

Trump was referring to an interview CNN’s Lemon did in the days after James, who now plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and his foundation had opened a public school for some of the most disadvantaged children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

The president’s “I like Mike!” comment apparently was Trump stating his opinion on the debate of whether six-time NBA champion Jordan or James, the four-time league most valuable player and three times champion, is the NBA’s best all-time player.

Even the president’s wife was supportive of James’ work with children.

“It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today,” Melania Trump said in a statement issued by her spokeswoman.

NBA player Karl-Anthony Towns added in a tweet: “So let me get this straight: Flint, MI has dirty water still, but you worried about an interview about a man doing good for education and generations of kids in his hometown?”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Alistair Bell

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Trump aims tweet at LeBron James, questions his intelligence

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, August 6th, 2018

FILE PHOTOS: USA President Donald Trump and NBA player Lebron James (REUTERS)

To the sporting world and largely beyond, he’s King James, but to President Trump, LeBron James is no intellectual genius.

In a tweet, Trump took aim at two of his regular critics, James and cable TV news personality Don Lemon. His tweet called Lemon the “the dumbest man on television,” and then said Lemon “made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.”

Trump finished the tweet with “I like Mike!” an apparent reference to favoring NBA legend Michael Jordan in a comparison with James as perhaps the best NBA player ever.

James — who last month announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for a second time, this time to come to Los Angeles and play for the Lakers — gave an interview with Lemon on Monday, in large part to tout a new elementary school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

The school, which is a joint effort of the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools, will benefit at-risk children.

During the sit-down, James spoke of sports as something that unites people, and added that the president was “using sports to kinda divide us.”

Trump has repeatedly and strongly criticized the NFL in particular for not punishing players who kneel during the national anthem in a form of protest.

“Sports has never been something that divides people,” James said during the interview. “It’s always been something that brings someone together.”

James has previously criticized Trump on several occasions, publicly supporting Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election and calling Trump a “bum” in September 2017, after the president rescinded an invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after winning the NBA title.

“Going to the White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James tweeted at the time.

Trump’s first comments about the NFL and players who protest during the anthem came later that month.

—Field Level Media

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NBA notebook: Rockets, Capela reportedly reach $90 million deal

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Saturday, July 28th, 2018

Apr 3, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets forward Clint Capela (15) gets a rebound away from Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kyle Singler (5) during the third quarter at Toyota Center. The Rockets won 118-110. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters

The standoff between the Houston Rockets and restricted free agent center Clint Capela appears over, as Capela signed a five-year, $90 million contract with the club, ESPN reported Friday.

As a restricted free agent, Capela could have signed the team’s $4.3 million qualifying offer and reached free agency in July 2019. But he had not yet signed it, instead holding out hopes for a deal in the $100 million range, putting him on par with Thunder big man Steven Adams (four years, $100 million) and Jazz eraser Rudy Gobert (four years, $102 million).

Capela is a strong defensive presence, and keeping him was essential for the Rockets, who already lost wings Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute to free agency.

The 6-foot-10 Capela, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, averaged 13.9 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game in 74 games last season.

—New York Knicks coach David Fizdale traveled to All-Star forward Kristaps Porzingis’ native Latvia to get to know his franchise player and to see how his rehab from major knee surgery is progressing. Porzingis tore the ACL in his left knee on Feb. 6 and isn’t expected back until December.

“We’ve talked about his rehab. We’ve talked about how we want to play, our style of play. Talked a lot about the culture that we’re building,” the new Knicks coach told Latvian television network LSM. “We wanna make sure that he comes back strong and healthy and we don’t want to rush it. We’ve had some really good conversations.”

The 7-foot-3 Porzingis, who turns 23 on Thursday, also is eligible for a five-year, $157 million contract extension. Talks haven’t progressed and may not until after Porzingis has recovered from the ACL tear.

—Once again, Devin Harris is a Dallas Maverick. Yahoo Sports reported that the veteran point guard, 35, agreed to a one-year, veteran minimum deal with the club.

Harris, 35, was traded from Dallas to the Denver Nuggets in February, but the team is bringing him back after losing Yogi Ferrell in free agency. The fifth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, Harris was traded on draft night to Dallas, where he spent the first four years of his career.

He was traded to the New Jersey Nets in 2008, but returned to Dallas in 2013 as a free agent.

—California native Paul George explained to USA Today Sports why he never even bothered to meet with Lakers president Magic Johnson and instead re-signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“The reason why I didn’t (take a meeting) is that coming down to free agency and before it was about to open (on July 1), I felt really good where I was at,” said George, who signed a four-year agreement worth $137 million with the Thunder.

“I felt I was in a good place with Oklahoma. I wanted to come back to LA. That story was true. The narrative on that was true. That’s where my heart was. But this year, being in Oklahoma, I felt really good about the situation, I felt really good going forward, and I didn’t want to waste nobody’s time and take a meeting. … I felt great where we were at, so I decided to do it early, to get it over with, and start to build.”

—Field Level Media

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